Why Mexicans suspect Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano is still alive

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    Heriberto Lazcano

    This photo released by Mexico’s Navy on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 allegedly shows the body of Zeta drug cartel leader and founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano while in the possession of Mexico’s Medical Forensic Service (SEMEFO) in Sabinas, Mexico. Mexico’s Navy says fingerprints confirm that cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano, an army special forces deserter whose brutal paramilitary tactics helped define the devastating six-year war among Mexico’s drug gangs and authorities, was killed in a firefight with marines in the northern state of Coahuila on the border with the Texas. (AP Mexico Navy)

    Why do Mexicans suspect drug lord Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano is still alive?

    When Mexican marines killed the leader of the Zetas, Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano, almost two months ago, it would seem like a significant triumph in Mexico’s war on drugs and a coup for outgoing Mexican president, Felipe Calderón. But immediately after the news of Lazcano’s killing was released, things began to take a mysterious turn, when Lazcano’s body was “stolen” from the funeral home. Now, the Mexican people are wondering if Lazcano is really dead.

    Suspicions arose immediately after it was discovered that Lazcano’s cadaver had been stolen from the funeral home where it had been taken. Within days the spark caught and became a wildfire of conspiracy theories, that Lazcano was alive, that he was in the witness protection program; that it had all been a set up.

    Then, a number of discrepancies began to appear regarding the evidence the government was presenting to the media. Apparently, Lazcano did not carry any identification, and the measurement of the deceased, of 1.60 meters in length, contradicted that of the DEA’s of 1.79 meters. To offer proof or their achievement, the government released photographs of the cadaver and claimed DNA samples matched those of Lazcano.

    But whoever said photographs do not lie, was lying. In the age of Photoshop, photographs are no longer the solid evidence they once represented—remember the photographs of Che Guevara’s corpse in Bolivia? That was evidence. Now, any middle school kid can manipulate an image with a few clicks of the mouse, and make it appear as if there is a shark swimming in the flooded streets of Manhattan.

    As soon as the government released photographs of Lazcano’s body, naysayers emerged. They pointed to the ears in the photos, claiming they had been some kind of photo-manipulation. The Mexican magazine, Proceso, interviewed a number of forensic experts, showing them the photographs and the government’s official forensic report. The experts pointed out discrepancies relating to the bullets wounds to Lazcano’s head. The photographs presented, they said, do not concur with what the report stated. Basically, the experts claimed that if the report were true, the cadaver’s head would have been blown off because of the high-powered, large caliber bullets used by the marines. Then there is the mystery of whether the person in the photographs is really Lazcano. Some claim there was photo-manipulation to the ears, the hairline and facial bone structure in order to make the cadaver look like the infamous leader of the Zetas.

    Heriberto Lazcano death still a mystery to Mexicans

    Zetas cartel leader, Heriberto Lazcano

    This undated file photo, downloaded from Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office most wanted criminals webpage on Nov. 2, 2010, shows alleged Zeta drug cartel leader and founder Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano in an undisclosed location. (AP Photo/Mexico’s Attorney General’s Office, file)

    Now, a large portion of the Mexican population believes Heriberto Lazcano is not dead. And who can blame them? This type of suspicion is rooted in the people’s distrust of the government. For years Mexico has been deeply corrupt. From the time of the Mexican revolution, when president Venustiano Carranza had Emiliano Zapata, a hero of the people, assassinated, to the government’s massacre of students at Tlatelolco in 1968, the Mexican government has managed to do as it pleased, leaving the Mexican people suspended in disbelief; accepting the government facts, but knowing the truth.

    In the 1970′s, through the 90′s the level of lies and corruption by the government peaked to the point of nearly perpetual economic collapse as each president, Echeverria, Lopez Portillo, De la Madrid and Salinas de Gortari, enriched themselves and their cronies at the cost of the middle and lower classes.

    During the tenure of president Jose Lopez Portillo, his appointed chief of police, Arturo “el Negro” Durazo, ran the city like a mafia chief. Everyone was aware of the corruption, robbery, cronyism, assassinations and favoritism going on, but officially it did not exist.

    After the 1985 earthquake, under president Miguel De la Madrid, the police looted the shattered homes. Signs of torture were discovered on the corpses of prisoners who had died in buildings occupied by the General Attorney’s office. The government denied everything.

    Zetas cartel leader Heriberto Lazcano

    This photo released by Mexico’s Navy on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012 allegedly shows the body of Zeta drug cartel leader and founder Heriberto Lazcano while in the possession of Mexico’s Medical Forensic Service (SEMEFO) in Sabinas, Mexico. (AP Mexico Navy)

    And when Carlos Salinas de Gortari was president, there was the assassination of PRI presidential candidate Luis Donaldo Colosio, and of Salinas’ former brother-in-law, José Francisco Ruiz Massieu, then secretary general of the PRI. Ruiz Massieu’s brother, (assistant attorney general at the time) claimed he had proof high officials in the PRI were hindering his investigation. He resigned and was later arrested in the U.S. with $46,000 in cash. His brother had bank accounts with over $17 million.

    In a classic Mexican twist reminiscent of a telenovela plot, Salina’s brother, Raul Salinas, was arrested as the mastermind of the assassination of Ruiz Massieu and sent to prison. He was later pardoned, spending only ten years in prison. Meanwhile, his wife and brother-in-law were arrested after trying to withdraw $84 million from a Swiss bank account that belonged to him. It turned out there were hundreds of millions of dollars in a number of bank accounts for Raul Salinas, whose annual salary was only $190,00 a year.

    Salinas’ brother, Enrique was murdered. Like the Ruiz Massieu case, it also remains unsolved. And now Carlos Salinas is believed to be one of the men behind Mexico’s new president elect, Enrique Peña Nieto. With politicians like that, who needs a mafia?

    It is no wonder the Mexican people believe the wool has been pulled over their eyes about Heriberto Lazcano. The government has been lying to the people for over a hundred years, there comes a point where you accept the facts they give you as just another lie in a long history of lies.




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